Camellia loves tropical weather. You can usually find her hanging with her buds high in the mountains of East Asia or India. Sometimes you will find her in far-off tropical places where the weather is just right. She’s sturdy. She’s resilient. She pulls through even when conditions are rough. She is a mother of five, and even though she has lived to be over 100 years old, she’s still full of life.
Camellia, or camellia sinensis is a tea plant and mother to the five most popular teas in the world. Green tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong and black tea are all made from the Camellia sinensis tree. Each tea has such a different color, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true!
So how does one Camellia Sinensis plant produce five different types of tea?
The differences happen later when the leaves are dried. Once the happy little tea leaves leave the comfort of momma Camellia’s tree, they are processed using various techniques – that’s when the magic happens.
White tea is the youngest of the group. She’s harvested at a much younger age than her siblings. She’s delicate, refreshing and minimally oxidized. After a two-week harvest, the white tea leaves are left to dry for up to two days and sorted for the best quality.
Yellow tea doesn’t always come home to visit, when she does it’s spectacular! This tea is becoming increasingly rare but has been enjoyed for centuries. Yellow tea gets its name from the yellow tinge its dried leaves have when slightly oxidized by steam.
Green tea is the favorite. More people in the world drink green tea than any other type, so she’s always in demand. This tea turns “green” when it is dried before the leaves can oxidize – keeping a lively green color.
Oolong tea is the late bloomer. It took years of mastering how to oxidize his leaves before he was a drinkable tea! He takes after her siblings – green and black – acting as a hybrid of the two. Oolong tea is made by oxidizing, heating, rolling, drying and firing the leaves.
Black tea is the most mature and energetic. She requires full oxidation before becoming the most caffeine-heavy tea of the family. Black tea leaves first wither for five to six hours, eliminating 60 percent of moisture. Then they are oxidized, dried and sorted.
Want to meet Camellia Sinensis and family? Explore all of our flavors at Pique Tea!